A Manchester man has been sentenced to 20 years after sustained abuse against a girl under 13 that was said to have started when she was just seven. 32-year-old Vinh Van Vu was found guilty on 2 November of several counts of sexual assault and rape against the child.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with a five-year extended license period on Friday 24 November at Woolwich Crown Court. The Metropolitan Police said that the abuse had started when the girl was only seven-year-old and is thought to have occurred between 2011 and 2016.

The abuse took place at different addresses in London's Greenwich area. The Met said that the girl spoke with Childline a number of times on an internet chat service, telling them about the abuse, before calling police and reporting it on 15 February 2016.

Vu was arrested later that day after specialist officers attended the girl's address and were able to get more details about the years of abuse.

"Vinh Van Vu is a dangerous individual who poses a serious risk to children and I am content that he has been put behind bars for a significant amount of time," DS Colin Cooper of the Met's Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command said.

"I want this case to demonstrate how any child or vulnerable person who is currently suffering abuse needs to speak to just one person – any person they trust.

"Once the abuse has been reported, we will take it from there. We have specially trained officers who handle cases sensitively and will support victims through the process of giving evidence to police and bringing offenders to justice.

"I would also like to highlight the work of Childline, who spoke to the victim a number of times via a chat room, supported her and made her feel confident enough to report the horrific abuse she had suffered to police. This service proved to be invaluable in this case."